Joseph Ossai stood in the locker room following his team’s (Cincinnati Bengals) last minute loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. There was pain on his face as he looked at the large gathering of reporters who wanted to talk with him. Unfortunately for him, his last minute push of Chief’s quarterback Patrick Mahomes happened out of bounds and the team was penalized, allowing Kansas City to continue their game winning drive. The Bengals wouldn’t be returning to the Super Bowl, the Chief’s would. In this, the most difficult time of his young career, he wasn’t alone. Standing right next to him, was B. J. Hill, a six-year veteran defensive tackle (6’ 3”, 300lbs) and his purpose was to support his teammate in a difficult situation. He was the voice to push back at reporters and protect him when they kept asking the same question. Whether he realized it or not, his head coach, Zac Taylor, lived out promise number three of a leader in building his team.

I will surround you with a team who will rejoice when you experience success and support you when life is difficult.

Why is building a team so important?

Because you, their leader, can’t be always present nor should you be. Which means there are times when someone on the team needs help, encouragement, or support and that will come from the team itself.

Contrary to the popular belief we can do it all on our own, we’re actually better together. We seek out and look for places where we belong, it’s built into our DNA.

A well-functioning team is a place of safety. You don’t have to watch your back. The team cares about each other personally and professionally. My experience is great teams find reasons to celebrate each other, both work and personal. It could be a cake to celebrate a birthday, upcoming marriage, or a new baby. It might be a happy hour to celebrate something special at work.

It’s fun to celebrate, but you learn even more about your team when you watch them support each other in difficult times. A team member makes a mistake, but instead of blaming them or distancing themselves, the team surrounds them and says “it’s okay”. Or, when a teammate experiences a personal loss, like the death of a family member, in their own way the team says, “we’re here for you.”

If you want a great team, trust them, and involve them in the interviewing process. Don’t have them rate the candidate or ask if you should hire them. Instead, get their feedback on what they see, the candidate’s strengths, where they might need help, if there are red flags. Their input will tell you what you need to know. Their participation in the process will help the candidate you hire assimilate more quickly into the team.

Why do we build teams that celebrate and support? Because God has promised to do it for us. He’s promised to surround us with a community of people who will rejoice with us, grieve with us, and support us in prayer. Be thankful for the people who God has put in your life.

Then, build the right kind of team that’s there for each other.

Let us be concerned for one another, to help one another to show love and to do good. Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more, since you see that the Day of the Lord is coming nearer. Hebrews 10:24-25 (GNT)

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